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Superman: The Mechanical Monsters

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Superman: The Mechanical Monsters

Published 1941

A mad scientist unleashes robots to rob banks and loot museums. Superman saves the day. Animation by Steve Muffati and George Germanetti. Music by Sammy Timberg. Produced in 1941.

Run time 9:00
Producer Max Fleischer
Production Company Paramount Pictures, Action Comics & Superman Magazine
Audio/Visual sound, color


Reviewer: sggradual - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 9, 2016
Subject: Superior animation
Great animation from the creator of popeye. Very realistic for their day. Good cartoon
Reviewer: dahszil - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 23, 2014
Subject: tired of computer animation, like the old style animation now
Its nice to see these old style animations. Adding those shadows is even more impressive when you realize that artists made these frame by frame by drawing and "painting" with their own hands .btw, i don't understand why so many reviewers seem not to like dialog.
Reviewer: uglyMood - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 30, 2013
Subject: Sky Captain
I've run across people that think Kerry Conran stole the flying robot sequence in Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow from this short, but that's not the case. His mother worked on the Superman cartoons in the paint department, and he did a shot-for-shot recreation of the robot attack as an homage to her work. The women in paint (ink was pretty much men-only) never got the recognition they deserved.

On a side note, if you watch a lot of these cartoons back to back you can almost see Superman rolling his eyes as Lois gets herself into needless trouble YET AGAIN. She seems to have lemming DNA.
Reviewer: indianacarnie - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 29, 2013
Subject: Nice
Liked it much better than I thought I would. Decent print and audio. Not a huge Superman fan but was nicely pleased by this one. So cool seeing "Superman" when he was "just" a "Superman" and not the almost omnipotent being he became.(though those have their place too)
Reviewer: splue - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 31, 2011
Subject: mechanical monsters
Reviewer: RipJarvis - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 28, 2011
Subject: Possibly the best (and not just for their time) action cartoons!
I read somewhere that these were the direct inspiration for the entire form of Anime. "Bud" Colyer (sp?) who voices Superman also did so for the radio show. The music is still "Superman" for me, though I love John Williams' theme.
Reviewer: Hypatia-9 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 14, 2010
Subject: VTOL and Robot etymology.
sontronics wrote: "it's interesting that it was made before the word 'robot' was coined to describe the mechanical monsters."

Not quite. The word "robot" first appears in Karel Čapek's "R.U.R." (Rossum's Universal Robots), which was published in 1920.

What I find interesting is the transformer aspect of the robots. They fly, and then transform from a VTOL (Vertical-Take-Off-Landing) vehicle into a walking Mech-robot.

Also, the fire blasts that the Mechs shoot from their eyes is way-cool.
Reviewer: soinc16 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 20, 2010
Subject: Fun Episode
Probaby one of my favourite episodes, its nice to see that its in public domain.
Reviewer: itronic - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 23, 2010
Subject: Subtitles
Great animation.
Subtitled versions in other languages are available at
Reviewer: 10hertz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 12, 2009
Subject: Suprise
I like the styling in this animation. Not the usual cartoon look that I tend to think of when it comes to kids cartoons.
Reviewer: frelkster - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 18, 2008
Subject: se choong hao
superman fei chang hao!
Reviewer: Onimusha - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 30, 2008
Subject: Superman
Another excellent cartoon from the days when they made good films
Reviewer: human - - August 17, 2008
Subject: What happened to the rest of the Superman shorts?
There used to be about a dozen of the Superman shorts on this site, now there's only three.

All 17 of them are still available at, but being as that is a Warner-owned site, they've chopped the Paramount intro tags off of them.
Reviewer: petypablo - - August 13, 2008
Subject: help
how do you download this movie
Reviewer: sontronics - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 27, 2008
Subject: robots
this is great art. you can see the influence in many modern day films. also, it's interesting that it was made before the word 'robot' was coined to describe the mechanical monsters.
Reviewer: g rated - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 18, 2008
Subject: 5 star cartoons
in 1st scene reminds me of the
Federal Reserve Bank = not Federal & no
reserves - LOOTING of the money supply
of the American People & LOOTING of our riches
in 2nd scene - towards the end - robots - reminding of the Federal Reserve Bank chairman's FIRE COMING OUT OF THEIR MOUTHS - trying to destroy us - they will stop at nothing to
LOOT this country.

Take back america & stand up for the
US Constitition & Holy BIble
Reviewer: jreed88 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 16, 2008
Subject: Perfect-except for the lack of variety
There really are only about 10 lines in the whole short-and probably only 5 that aren't used in all the other shorts (ei: "This is a job for Superman" and "I couldn't have done it without Superman").
I also like that in all the shorts, Clark always waits around a bit before changing into Superman. This is what I think his though process is: "okay a few million in city damage has been done and, oh no! Lois has vanished and characteristically run towards danger in order to get a headline! I guess I should be saving her and the city right about now."
Also I think Lois is a totally hot combo of Jessica Rabbit and Dolores in "How Framed Roger Rabbit?" I love quirky Lois voices!
Reviewer: Jimmy G Brown - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 20, 2006
Subject: Nice, but: Oops.
Another great example that while science has given us better means of doing it. Skill still comes first!!

Note. The robot that leads to badguys downfall. Good old #13. But, oops. The makers goofed the first time they showed the robots back in the jewelry store. Notice that the first time you see its back. It says #5. But, switches accordingly to #13 to match the front for the rest of the show.

Hmm. I may have to breakdown and start going with MP2. I did MP1 and the sound music drags a little on the end? Or was that the cartoon itself?
Reviewer: infopablo00 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 25, 2006
Subject: super
A masterpiece of pop art.
(Made even before pop art itself was invented)
Reviewer: tominator_66 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 8, 2006
Subject: strong influence
A great show for it's time. The thing that I found most interesting is the almost direct "borrowing" of the robot's design by the makers of SkyCaptain and the World of Tomorrow made last year. The giant robots in the beginning of the movie copy the wing and hand design and even the use of shadows almost exactly.
Reviewer: helbent - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 1, 2006
Subject: Stupid villian
Great example of 40's animation. Color and movement and backgrounds are first rate for the day. Two things cracked me up. One, this guy can build flying robots, but he can't figure out how to keep the door latched on their backs, and two, as the villian is lowering Lois into the molten metal he insists that she tell him where the jewels are when he has tied a gag around her mouth. No wonder he was stupid enough to think his robots could destroy Superman.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavorite - April 29, 2006
Subject: The House Of Jewels is no match for the Mysterious Mechanical Monsters!
Pretty good Superman cartoon here as Clark and Co. try to figure out what kind of mechanical monster (which looks suspiciously like the Iron Giant) robbed the bank on the SAME DAY a gaudy jewelry exhibit opens. Shore enough, the Monster attacks that, and Lois, snoopy reporter that she is, decides literally to back seat it to where the monster is going, luckily, Clark feels that Lois is in trouble and changes to superman. While in the air, he uses his x-ray vision, this is probably the only time IÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂve seen him use this in these cartoons. The animation is, as usual, excellent. The Fleschers took pride in these cartoons, itÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs obvious.
Reviewer: MoonBeamlady - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 13, 2006
Subject: Superman:The Mechanical Monsters
I really enjoyed this!I really was scared!!!Good Show!
Reviewer: desmay - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 15, 2006
Subject: So Good They Destroyed the Studio
The Superman shorts were at one time the most expensive cartoon shorts ever produced. They pretty much bankrupted the Fleischer studios because while they were gorgeous and popular, they didn't make their money back. But watch them carefully, and you can't help but be impressed by them. They're beautiful, awesome, majestic. Nothing in superhero cartoons came close to rivaling them for the next 50 years...
Reviewer: Savant Trigger - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 18, 2005
Subject: Very groovy
Very fast-paced and entertaining!

I especially liked the minimalistic dialogue (the characters say perhaps ten lines throughout the whole movie). The lines that were said, however, were delivered in a style more likened to an announcer than a character.
Lois's voice is very low, it's kind of weird. I also think it's interesting the way she climbs in the robot after the jewels. Is it some sort of critique on women?
By the way, I think Superman looks very creepy when he's using his X-ray vision...
Reviewer: Bartacovic - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 16, 2005
Subject: early superman
Excellent example of early superman, forshadowing "five is alive"---"transformers" and much more recient films.
Reviewer: oeaclo - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 27, 2005
Subject: 1940's AI
This short is impressive especially for the first five minutes. There's no dialogue, just the sequence with the robot. The style is neat and the animation is clear and with a nice rythm. You know this is an old cartoon just for the clothes and the technology in it.Pay attention to the panel control of the villain.It's adorable.
I wonder if today animators could beat Fleischer brothers. Highly recommend it.
Pablo Quiroz.
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